eCite Digital Repository

STEM and STEAM education as spaces for disruption and rejuvenation in schools: An overview of professional possibilities for ‘disciplinarity’ across three Australian states


Hunter, J and MacDonald, A and Wise, K and Fraser, S, STEM and STEAM education as spaces for disruption and rejuvenation in schools: An overview of professional possibilities for disciplinarity' across three Australian states, Proceedings of the 4th International Professional Practice, Education and Learning (ProPEL) Conference, 9 - 11 December 2019, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-11. (2019) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

Official URL:


This paper presents an overview of how interdisciplinary education agendas are being interpreted and enacted within three Australian states: New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. It offers new understanding of the impact, interpretation and enactment of interdisciplinary education in STEM and STEAM on teacher professionalism. Consideration is given to the priorities espoused in current State and Federal policy agendas for disruption and rejuvenation. The paper explores how disciplinary acronyms such as STEM and STEAM are being mobilised to maintain, erode or reform particular disciplines, and how this impacts enactment of teacher professionalism in Australian schools. By focusing on the boundaries between these disciplines, the distinctiveness and potential of various interdisciplinary agendas can be reframed and better understood. In turn, ways of recognising, embracing and prioritising different forms of disciplinary knowledge of education professionals can be identified in the spaces between disciplinary curriculum and pedagogy. In NSW the teaching professional is thwarted by endgame assessments that maintain distinct approaches to the STEM disciplines in education in secondary schools, while in Tasmania the possibilities for more professional collaboration between the disciplines are yet to be realized. Furthermore, in Victoria there is a misalignment between interdisciplinary learning outcomes desired by the tertiary sector from STEAM and other discipline combinations, and the pedagogies employed. Finding diverse ways of knowing, of further questioning and transgressing boundaries are posited as possible tools for provoking and preparing teachers, communities and young people for uncertain futures.

Item Details

Item Type:Non Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:professional learning, collaboration, STEAM, STEM, co-design
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Teacher education and professional development of educators
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:MacDonald, A (Dr Abbey MacDonald)
UTAS Author:Fraser, S (Professor Sharon Fraser)
ID Code:136305
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-12-13
Last Modified:2019-12-13
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page